Avian pneumovirus (APV) is an emerging viral respiratory disease agent of turkeys in Minnesota. Clinical signs of APV infection include open mouth breathing, ocular and nasal discharge, and swelling of infraorbital sinuses. The virus spreads rapidly among flocks of susceptible turkeys and is associated with increased mortality rates. A flock of 11-wk-old turkeys experienced a respiratory problem characterized by coughing, sneezing, swollen sinuses, and nasal discharge. The reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) performed on tissues from the nasal turbinates and tracheal tissues was positive for avian pneumovirus. Turbinate tissue was inoculated into chicken embryo fibroblasts, and cytopathic effect was observed after five blind passages. In an attempt to reproduce the disease, 50 μl of this cell culture-propagated virus was instilled into each conjunctival space and nostril of 23-day-old turkey poults. The poults were sacrificed at 2-day intervals for 12 days, and serum, tissues, and tracheal and cloacal swabs were collected. Between days 2 and 10 after exposure, the poults developed ocular and nasal discharge and swollen sinuses. The virus was detected by RT-PCR and virus isolation from the nasal turbinates of poults sacrificed on days 4 and 6 postinoculation. Antibodies to APV were detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
- Avian pneumovirus
- Respiratory disease